This year a rather lovely little shop opened up in Evesham in a beautiful old building on Vine Street. ‘Empty Jars’, run by Marino and Maddie, is Evesham’s first Zero Waste shop.

When you think about it, what better place is there than Evesham to start trying to buy more products without unnecessary packaging? The Vale of Evesham has a long history of growing fruit and vegetables as well and these are available to buy from the wealth of farm shops in the surrounding area.

You might ask ‘but what does zero waste actually mean’? It means no waste going to landfill. The lead up to Christmas seems like the perfect time for us all to think about what happens to the things we buy when we’ve finished using them.

Married couple Marino and Maddie have been on a mission to stop using plastic, particularly single-use, for a number of years.

Small changes, big impact

There are a couple of assumptions that people sometimes make about zero waste shops and we are here to help them go poof and disappear as quickly as Santa’s reindeer!

Shopping zero waste is not really expensive. At ‘Empty Jars’ they are able to beat the supermarkets on many items for price and quality.

You don’t have to be super organised to shop there. It’s good if you can re-use your own containers and bring them in to store, but you can just pop in on a whim as they have recycled paper bags and donated containers that you can fill up and take home. If you do bring your containers in, you can drop them off to be refilled whilst you go and do your other errands in town… now that sounds like a Christmas time-saving hack if ever we heard one!

You don’t have to know what you’re doing to begin with! ‘Empty Jars’ loves new people! They offer a friendly personalised service and they are happy to talk to you about the products, make recommendations and help you refill and weigh your items.

They do lots of research behind all their suppliers and have a direct connection with them to make sure they are not green washing. None of the products in the shop are flown to the UK and and most of them are co-operatives or community-based organisations.

Thoughtful Christmas ideas

Now let’s talk about their wonderful products and why you need to be paying them a visit for your Christmas shopping this year.

Let’s start with the basics. For those of us who might spend a bit of time at the kitchen sink this year, spiced ginger washing up liquid with no nasty chemicals – inhale the fragrance to relax as the plates pile up!

Your guests will all be asking about your coffee if you give them their ‘Winter Blend Coffee’ which has a slight cinnamon aftertaste and is roasted in Worcestershire.

Stocking fillers! Vegan jelly sweets for the kids (and the grown-ups) with no artificial ingredients made in Birmingham. Yes please!

Christmas crafting! They have adorable Christmas crayons made from natural waxes rather than paraffin wax.

Making a nut roast this Christmas? They will have all of the ingredients you’ll need and you can buy the exact amounts rather than the supermarket dictating how much you need. In fact, for all your Christmas snacking needs they are the place to go. Their crisps are 100% British, even the oil, and they are delicious!

They also offer gift vouchers so if you’re not sure what to buy for that special someone, give them a gift that will be great for them and the planet.

Thinking local

Marino and Maddie pride themselves on trying to stock what local people want. Like Father Christmas, they keep a wish list, so if enough people ask about something they will try their best to get it in stock. So if you go in and there is something you can’t find let them know.

We need more independent businesses in our area, run by passionate people who want to make the world a little better. Please support ‘Empty Jars’ and call in to the shop when you’re next in Evesham or check out their website and social media to see how you can lighten the load and make a few simple changes to reduce waste.

Wychavon District Council set an ambitious target to reduce household waste across the district by 10% by 2026. To do this every household needs to reduce their waste by 46.8kg less waste every year. Check out the Wychavon website for other simple ways to reduce your waste including the ’30 day waste reduction challenge and advice on how to be ‘food savvy’.